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Producing Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps

When designing mobile apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to follow certain guidelines. Re-using graphics designed for different operating systems, especially desktop-based, is generally not a good idea. Foreign images will look out of place at best, or will make your Android apps appear hardly recognizable at worst.

Producing Tab and Menu Icons for Android Description: When designing Android apps or designing graphics for Android apps, one must follow certain guidelines. Using images made for other systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign icons will look out of place at best, or will make your Android apps appear hardly recognizable at worst. Body: There are precise guidelines published in reference to Android icons. Different design guidelines are available for tab icons and menu icons.

Android Icons for Navigation Bars

Tab icons represent individual tabs in tabbed interface. Tab icons must be provided in two distinct states: selected and unselected. It is recommended that tab icons are drawn as simple, flat shapes as opposed to images shown in 3D or isometric projection.

Android OS and Android apps can run on a multitude of hardware platforms employing a wide range of hardware. In connection to icon graphics, those platforms can have different display sizes, display resolutions, pixel density and dimensions. To accommodate the wide range of screens, Android developers should supply all tab icons used in their apps in at least three resolutions to be drawn on low, medium, and high density screens. Pixel-wise, the outer boundaries for the three resolutions are defined as 24x24, 32x32, and 48x48 pixels. Inner dimensions should not exceed 22x22, 28x28, and 42x42 pixels respectively. By including all three standard sizes, developers can ensure that their apps will be shown properly on a variety of platforms running the Android OS.

Menu icons are displayed in the "options" menu, and are shown to the user when they press the Menu button. Similar to tab icons, menu icons should be flat, grayscale images. Just as tab icons, developers cannot use 3D or isometric projections.

Pixel resolutions for menu icons are described in a slightly more comprehensive way compared to tab icons. Instead of two resolutions defined for tab graphics (inner shape and boundary box), the inner shape of menu icons can be smaller or larger depending on whether they are square-shaped or not. If a menu icon is square-shaped, its resolution should be smaller than for icons with different shapes. The reason for having two different size limits is to establish a consistent visual size across the two icon types.

The outer dimensions for low, medium, and high resolution icons are defined as 36x36, 48x48, and 72x72 pixels respectively. Inner shapes for square, low-definition icons should be 22x22 pixels, while non-square icons should fit into a boundary box sized 24x24 pixels. Similarly, mdpi icons should fit 30x30 and 32x32 pixel boundaries, while high-definition images should fit into 44x44 and 48x48 pixel boxes respectively.

Instead of designing your own icons conforming to these guidelines, Android developers have an option of getting ready-made icons from professional designers. As an example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft offer 112 unique tab icons in selected and unselected states and all standard sizes. If an additional size is needed, developers can produce graphics at any size by accessing scalable vector sources. Android Tab Icons can be previewed and downloaded at http://www.aha-soft.com/stock-icons/android-tab-icons.htm.

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